Major revelation ahead of AFL investigation into racism claims

Alastair Clarkson is pictured left and Chris Fagan is pictured right.
The AFL investigation into allegations of racism levelled at former Hawthorn staff Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan will not have the participation of a key complainant against the pair. Pictures: Getty Images

One of the complainants involved in the AFL's upcoming investigation into historical allegations of racism within the Hawthorn Football Club has announced they will not be taking part in the upcoming inquiry.

Terms of reference for the investigation were announced by the AFL in October, with the investigation scheduled to be completed by December.

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The investigation, to be led by Bernard Quinn KC, will look into 'racist behaviour, bullying and other inappropriate conduct' towards Indigenous players at Hawthorn, sparked both by Hawthorn's own review into cultural concerns, as well as allegations reported in the wake of that review's completion.

However some of those who made allegations in the Hawthorn review have been known to be hesitant about participating in the subsequent AFL-led investigation.

This is in part due to the potential of having to re-tell their stories to the AFL, and partly due to a lack of confidence in the investigation as a whole.

Through legal representatives Marque Lawyers one of those complainants, known only as 'Amy', says she will not participate due to concerns the AFL investigation is being 'rushed', and does not appear to be focused on why allegations have been raised in the first place - rather instead focusing on proving what has been alleged.

“Why would I ask the protectors of the perpetrators who caused me all this trauma to then investigate the abuse?” the woman asked through the statement.

“The process which the AFL has determined to pursue is not independent of it.

“While we cast no aspersions on the nominated investigation panel members, the entire process will be conducted under the control of the AFL and for the AFL’s purposes.

“If the AFL is genuinely concerned to unearth and expose the full depth of racist mistreatment of First Nations players and their families by one or more of its clubs, then it should engage an external body with appropriate expertise, operating completely independently of the AFL, to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the systemic racist abuses that the revelations regarding Hawthorn have exposed.

“Instead, the AFL’s own lawyers are assisting the investigation panel and corresponding with parties on its behalf.”

Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan back coaching amid upcoming AFL probe

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson and Brisbane coach Chris Fagan are both central to the upcoming investigation, both central in allegations raised about their conduct during their time at Hawthorn from the mid-2000s onwards.

Clarkson quit as Hawthorn coach at the end of the 2021 season before being hired to coach the Kangaroos from next season onwards, while Fagan has coached the Lions since 2017.

Both elected to stand down from their roles after the allegations first came to light, but have since resumed their positions.

Clarkson had his first official day as North Melbourne coach on Monday, returning to oversee the beginning of pre-season training.

Both Clarkson and Fagan have denied the allegations levelled at them, with Clarkson once again vowing to vigorously defend himself.

“What we do know is we always had the care of our players right at the highest priority of our football club,” he said.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the league was hoping to have the matter dealt with appropriately and as quickly as possible.

“We will work as fast as we can as we try and manage competing interests, and make sure everyone feels that is fair, independent and safe.” he said.

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